Liberty & Power: Group Blog
Link courtesy of Alan Gura. Clever title courtesy of Max Sawicky, who proves that Walt Whitman isn't just for picking up interns anymore.
"University of Alabama administrators are being small-minded about faculty dissent on the Tuscaloosa campus. A university's role should be to stimulate discussion, not to suppress it. UA's target is the Alabama Scholars Association Read More Here
Nice to see Mencken crack the top ten on the editors' list, though. Sad to see Rachel Carson in the top five.
Hat tip: Marginal Revolution.
US secretary of defence Donald Rumsfeld is considering plans to expand the global war on terrorism with multi-pronged attacks against suspected militant bases in countries such as Lebanon and Somalia...
Sending US troops into lawless Somalia would not be new, nor is it likely to cause serious diplomatic waves. Covert US forces have periodically infiltrated the country over the past two years in order to conduct surveillance and even snatch [Al Qaeda] suspects...
However, sending US special forces into Lebanon - and in particular an area like the Bekaa Valley (which is virtually Syrian territory) and where the bulk of Damascus' military forces in Lebanon are deployed - would be an entirely different matter. Deployment of US forces in the area would almost certainly involve a confrontation with Syrian troops.
Thanks to David for inviting me in for permanent residence here at L&P. I'm honored to be in such esteemed company.
Your Cliff's Notes bio of Radley Balko: I was recently hired as a policy analyst for the Cato Institute (read my first paper for them here). My issues include the range of"nanny state" issues, which would include alcohol and tobacco control, drug prohibition, obesity, and to a lesser extent, issues like gambling, pornography, seat belt and helmet laws, and such. It's pretty much a dream job for me, so I'm very excited.
I went to Indiana University in Bloomington, where I studied journalism and political science.
I agree with Chris Matthew Sciabarra when he said in his post yesterday, referring to the Democratic Party nominating process after the Iowa results, that, “This might actually be fun to watch.” Though, I hope it is not too much fun because that could mean a brokered convention and President Hillary Clinton. Frankly, I do not want to live in her village.
The most plausible explanation I've heard comes from my friend Gordon Pusch who pointed out that Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld seems to have bought into what has been called the "Vision for 2020" -- a space age "Project for the New American Century" -- that calls for U.S. military superiority (and exclusivity) in space. This goal requires (and does not yet have) a"heavy lift" capability into space: launchers that could put massive payloads into orbit. (The Shuttle won't lift enough payload, and can't launch frequently enough.) A few billion won't get very far along the road to Mars, but it will pay for launcher development. And, as it happens, heavy launchers would be the first thing needed by the Moon/Mars program. Moon/Mars is a lovely" civilian" cover to develop these heavy lifters, which otherwise can't be justified -- weather and communications satellites need only small...
The rock fans are Wesley Clark, who likes Journey's"Greatest Hits"; Sen. John Edwards,"The Essential Bruce Springsteen"; and Sen. John Kerry, the Beatles'"Abbey Road."
Howard Dean singled out the music of Grammy-winning hip-hop singer Wyclef Jean. Rep. Dennis Kucinich chose country's Willie Nelson (who has endorsed him), and Al Sharpton favored gospel's Yolanda Adams. Sen. Joe Lieberman's favorite album is"Sueno," by classical Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli.
I've got this image of Wes Clark with that thousand-yard stare, hunched down in his bus seat, muttering to himself"wheel in the sky keeps on turning/wheel in the sky keeps on turning" on and on and on through the frozen wasteland of NH. [Link courtesy of Atrios.]
For political junkies, like myself, this is the kind of competitive season on which I feast. No, I'm not talking about the return of"American Idol" (which is always a hoot to watch). I'm talking about the Presidential primary season.
Arthur Silber has some very nice musings on the subject of the Iowa caucus and the Presidential race, especially the need for a positive tone. I must admit that I took a perverse pleasure in seeing the pundits fall flat on their faces with regard to the Howard Dean"juggernaut." With Kerry coming in first, Edwards in second, and Dean in third (Gephardt is now down and out), it brought to mind the insight of philosopher Yogi Berra who said"It ain't over til it's over." The pundits were telling us it was over before it even began. This might actually be fun to watch.
The world is surely not a fun place, however. Abroad, the situation in Iraq is volatile; even the Taliban is staging a return engagement in Afghanistan. At home, the increase in government intervention has had a deleterious impact on everything from the deficit to civil liberties. Bush, who gives his State of the Union address this evening, still looks like a winner to me. But the season is young. Stay tuned.
"A conservative faculty organization at the University of Alabama is accusing administrators of censorship after the group was barred from using the campus mail system to distribute its newspaper without regular postage.
Leaders of the organization, known as the Alabama Scholars Association, charge that the decision is payback for their efforts to shake up the status quo, including a proposal for term limits for university administrators and a report that found widespread grade inflation in some departments.
"It's just an effort to quash any sort of dissent," the association's president, history professor David Beito, said last week.
Mr. O'Neill also pushed the president to set aside $1 trillion of the projected surpluses to fund one of Mr. Bush's big ideas during the campaign: the privatization of Social Security. Allowing people to invest Social Security contributions into private retirement accounts would reduce the government's future retirement liabilities, but the government would need to cover obligations to existing retirees without the money coming in from existing workers.
Mr. O'Neill said that both he and Mr. Greenspan had estimated that $1 trillion over the next decade or so would be enough to finance the transition for everybody then under the age of 37.
But Mr. Bush"seemed to shrug it off,'' according to the book.
As he bids for reelection, the president will focus on the terror war, jobs, outer space, and marriage.
Beyond the smart-alecky observation that this curious terminology sounds both politically correct and Mansonesque at the same time, I don't have much comment on this. However, I would love to hear some commentary on the use of this term from L&P's resident historians and from the nice folks over at Cliopatria.
Perhaps, someone would be interested in offering their thoughts on the following questions too. From a historical perspective what defines a"race war?" Has the U.S. ever suffered such a traumatic event? If so, which events so qualify and why? Lastly, what separates a"race war" from 'lesser grade' ethnic conflicts?
When I first started to write this blog, I was going to condemn the decision to issue the stamp. On second thought, however, perhaps it makes sense for a lumbering and inefficient state monopoly like the U.S. Postal Service to honor a man who defended the creator of many similar lumbering and inefficient monpolies in his own country.
The best relationship between educators and families is via partnership. And this is not at all the same kind of thing that's involved when a family goes to a restaurant or a grocery store to buy food, or a department store to buy clothing. Although I may return to the business if I'm pleased with the food or clothing, there is no need for ongoing conversation between the businessperson and me.That's simply wrong. Prices are communication of relative scarcity; excess or unplanned inventory accumulation is a communication of mistaken conceptions about demand. Mass customization, increasing in the world today, requires more ways to cheaply transmit information about what is possible and what is desirable. What ways are there for professors and students, teachers and parents, to communicate these?
The phrase,"the customer is always right" is another problem when applied to education. Some businesses say that when the customer is dissatisfied with a purchase, the item can be returned for cash or credit. But with all due respect, families, parents, grandparents or whoever is caring for the youngster are not always right. None of us — educators, family members, whoever — is always right.No, but that's true in any business. Should the customer who buys"the wrong computer" or the"wrong shoes" be prevented from it? To some extent, yes. Software firms bundle their products with features and not allow complete picking-and-choosing between them. Why? Because they may have better information about the functionality of the programs. They may not want to...
If you're a service provider, sometimes you compete with your customers for your own services. The customer is always right -- because the party to whose wishes you ultimately decide to cater, the party you treat as being"right," is thereby your customer.
On January 10th, the London Telegraph, in a story titled"George W. Bush boldly goes to Mars," hailed Bush’s plans for a manned Mars mission as an expression of"mankind's loftiest ambitions."
Now I'm as big a fan of space exploration as anyone. I long to see Mars and other planets visited, colonised, even terraformed. I've watched the progress of the latest Mars rover with fascination. Indeed, the need to renounce NASA was probably the biggest hurdle for me in becoming a libertarian originally. But I cannot endorse a space exploration program led by an institution both inept and criminal, and funded by extortion.
The Telegraph lectures us:"To begin such an endeavour at a time when the US government is already running a large budget deficit is, in its way, heroic. ... It would be nice if those who habitually dismiss the President as selfish and insular would for once acknowledge his largesse."
The terms"heroic" and"largesse" would apply if Bush were putting up his own money. When instead he proposes to fleece the taxpayers -- taxpayers already cringing in the shadow of Bush’s looming deficits, which dwarf his laughable"tax cuts" -- the appellations seem grossly misplaced.
A nonviolent approach to space exploration is perfectly possible: get the State off the economy's back, thereby freeing up the resources and efficiency of the market sector to fund a cheaper and less militarised private space program. (See the marvelous satire...